21 Oct - 5 min read
We’re more than half-way through 2016 making it roughly three years since we first took the RM10 challenge where we try to survive an entire week on just RM10 a day. Today, we’re asking the question again.
With this experiment, we want to know just how much purchasing power lies in RM10. Now since there are two major expenses each day – food and transport, we’re only going to look those costs. The challenge isn’t considering sundry expenses and the like, just ‘operational costs’ for the day.
Let’s first see an example of how much money is typically spent every day when one is on a moderate budget:
Petrol costs – Assume that total travel distance per day is 18.4 km, fuel consumption for an automatic transmission Myvi is 5.9 litres per 100 km, and that RON 95 petrol is selling for RM1.75 per litre. The total fuel costs under these variables would come up to RM2.00 for the entire journey.
Toll costs – the LDP toll rates are RM2.10 for one way (RM4.20 to and fro).
Thus, total transport costs to and from work only is RM6.20 per day.
Regular food expenses where meals are usually eaten out at economical eateries like Mamak stalls, as well as Malay and Chinese ‘mixed rice’ restaurants, are estimated to cost around RM3 to RM4 for breakfast; RM5 to RM7 for lunch; and again RM5 to RM7 for dinner.
This means that food expenses are between RM13 and RM18 per day whereas total expenses (for food and transport) are estimated at RM19 to RM24 per day.
Now let’s see what would happen, if we’re only allowed RM10 for expenses, which work out to half (or more than half) the usual budget.
To get to work and back with no public transport options along the route, sharing rides and travel costs (RM2 per day) with a colleague made the most sense. Driving to and from work would have taken up approximately 62% of the RM10 budget with toll and petrol costs.
In terms of food, breakfasts for all five days and at least two lunches were prepared at home to reduce the cost of eating out. Here’s what was spent on groceries to make breakfast and lunch sandwiches:
Take a look at how the food and transport costs play out over five work days:
|Days 1 & 2||RM (per day)||Days 3 & 4||RM (per day)||Day 5||RM (per day)|
|Petrol / Toll||2.00||Petrol / Toll||2.00||Petrol / Toll||2.00|
|Breakfast: two slices of bread plus one cheese slice||1.30||Breakfast: two slices of bread plus one cheese slice||1.30||Breakfast: two slices of bread plus one cheese slice||1.30|
|Lunch: two slices of bread and a half can of tuna||2.35||Lunch for Day 3: Chinese noodles
Lunch for Day 4: Kampong Fried Rice
|5.00||Lunch: Mixed rice,with Chicken Sambal and Vegetables||5.50|
|Dinner for Day 1: Maggi Goreng
Dinner for Day 2: Nasi Lemak with fried egg
|4.00||Dinner for Day 3: Roti Canai
Dinner for Day 4: two cream buns
|1.40||Dinner: Roti Canai||1.40|
Living on RM10 a day is a feat in city areas, but for some, it can be done. Prepare however, to give up a lot conveniences when your budget is that limited.
Here are a few key takeaways from the challenge:
Having very little to spend typically indicates that you may have to rely on public transport and share rides. Driving is just too expensive because petrol and toll charges alone seem to significantly eat a large chunk of a small budget.
It seems unlikely that people on budgets of RM10 a day can afford eating out for most meals. Nutrition may also suffer because hawker and processed foods are cheaper, easier, less healthy options. Furthermore, proper planning along with packing food from home is necessary if you are to stick to your budget. Lastly, meal variety is restricted and it is possible that you may only afford one major meal throughout the day.
The sad truth is that there are folks forced by their financial circumstances to survive on RM10 a day and perhaps even less. Thus, an experiment like this can be a serious eye-opener to how much money you are actually spending every day. Chances are it’s more than you’d like and so, one way to save more every day is to track every cent spent as we’ve done in this article. When you know exactly where your money is going, you might be able to manage your finances better and improve your overall situation.
Having money troubles? Learn how to make more or alternatively you might want to consider taking out a small personal loan to help you work out temporary financial woes. Use our comparison page for help finding a nice financing package with the most affordable rates.
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